Sudan

UNICEF Operations in South Sudan Monthly Report Jan 2001

Twic Olympics Take Off
In late January, UNICEF participated in what was dubbed 'The Twic Olympics' - a celebration of community and participation. Men and women of all ages participated in the sports event which included running competitions, volleyball, football and lots of traditional dancing.

The event, brainchild of Acuil Banggol who heads OLS NGO Supraid, was organized to bring a sense of community to an area badly in need of hope. The Twic area has been subjected to militia raids, abductions, famine and bombing for years. In discussing the event, Banggol said, "I believe sport can bring people together in an atmosphere of happiness and competition. I have tried for years to find a way to unite people in this area."

The result of Supraid's initiative was a festival of fun, with representatives from as far as the eastern districts of the county including members of the Nuer tribe, with whom the Dinka in the area have often had an uneasy relationship. The athletics proved to be a unifying force and all participants seemed to capture the sprit of the event and participated whole-heartedly.

Many of the participants had never had a chance to play sports like volleyball before, and many, particularly women, rarely participate in any sport at all.

UNICEF was one of three international agencies that supported the event with cash and equipment. T-shirts provided for participants displayed the words "PLAY, all rights, all children, everywhere!", the first in a series promoting the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

During the conference, Banggol noted, "We want the youth to regain confidence. They haven't had anything for so long. For the entire community these games have been a chance to look beyond the war."

It is estimated that up to three thousand people were watching or taking part each day. Landmine posters and other advocacy messages were carried during the parades and there was much talk about issues such as education, especially for girls.

It is hoped that the games will become an annual event.

Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child says: "States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child..."

Community Centres

As one of UNICEF's main priorities in 2001, work on establishing Community Centres is continuing. Progress has been reported in the Cueicok and Bar Aliap Community Centres in Rumbek and Yambio (see photos below of the Cuiecok centre) and assessments are underway for additional sites in other counties.

During the month UNICEF consulted with local authorities to identify seven sites to be established as community centres: two in Wulu, two in Maper, one in Malek, one in Kuei and one in Pacong Payams. The priority is to provide water points at these community centres initially. Eventually, other components like construction of health units and school classrooms will be added. Integrated programme activities for sustainability will be continued. UNICEF will work in partnership with NGOs and the local authorities to establish these centres.

Promotion of Human Rights

Human Rights Promotion kicked off the year in Rumbek on January 11-16 discussing human rights issues with 35 ranking officers from the SPLA. Commander Majak, SPLA Commander of the Third Front, and Deputy-Governor Deng opened the sessions, stressing the importance of a deeper understanding of human rights within the Army and the Movement. The following sessions were conducted by UNICEF Rights staff (Monyluak Kuol, Ajou Garang, both Sudanese, and Kenn Crossley, an international consultant) with the assistance of the SRRA Humanitarian Principles and Human Rights counterparts.

Discussion was lively, intense, and at times heated. UNICEF challenged officers to recognize the negative effects of war on Sudan's children, specifically concerning child conscription and targeting of women, children and non-combatants. There were also discussions on looting, rape, abductions, the treatment of POWs, the use of landmines, soldiers as role models in their home communities, and specific articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Participants expressed some cynicism regarding the apparent willingness of international governments to sacrifice human rights principles when matters of economic interest are at stake. These comments notwithstanding, many officers expressed surprise at how keenly they were engaged and how closely the ideas of human rights linked up with some of their traditional values and attitudes regarding acceptable conduct in war.

All in all, the sessions were seen as a tremendous success. The officers in attendance, several of whom were responsible for the training of new recruits, resolved to incorporate ideas of human rights into basic training. They further suggested that UNICEF disseminate human rights values more widely within the SPLA and among the leadership of the SPLM. Each officer committed himself to ensuring that his men respect the rights of women in children both during combat and in the broader community.

Protection

In preparation for a major child solider demobilization exercise being planned in conjunction with the SPLM, UNICEF carried out an extensive assessment mission in the Western Upper Nile area covering locations in Latjor State, Bieh State, Phow State and Leich State as well as in the FRRA areas of Aburoc and Oriny.

The assessment had a number of objectives -

  • To assess the locations visited for suitability as demobilization transit centre sites.
  • To determine how long it would take to set an operational transit facility in each location.
  • To identify required inputs, whether locally available or to be provided, required to establish each facility.
  • To assess the willingness of the community and local authorities to accommodate a demobilization facility.
  • To identify supportive structures in the community such as schools and health facilities that could be strengthened.
  • To identify vocational training needs at the locations visited.

A debriefing session on the findings of this assessment was to be held in early February.

Articles 9,19,34,35,37 and 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child discuss the protection of children from neglect and abuse.

Education

Equity

Enrollment Increases through Task Force on Girls' Education in Yambio

An increase in the number of girls enrolled in school has taken place as a result of the activities of the Task Force on Girls' Education. The number of girls enrolled in the Girls Only Primary School has increased and there are now over 800 girls registered.

The Task Force has also registered 38 girls in Primary Five to Eight. These are girls who dropped out of schools and are working on small businesses in the town. UNICEF and the SRRA Education Department are looking at the possibility of opening an evening class for this group at the Yabongo Primary School, as the Girls' Primary School is already used for adult literacy classes in the evening. At the moment, over 250 women attend these classes.

Women's Association Advocates for Enrollment of GIrls

The Women's Association in Rumbek meets regularly to discuss the issue of girl's education and how to improve enrollment in the area. A landmark meeting was held on 12 January about how to increase enrollment in the coming school year. At present, only 800 girls have been enrolled, a low number compared to the 8,000 boys currently in school.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child puts a clear emphasis on the importance of equal access to education for all children regardless of gender. In Rumbek, the girls' rights to education has not been prioritized and the cultural agenda places emphasis on early marriage and bride wealth, rather than the right of a girl to education.

Despite this, the Women's Association has made a commitment to empowering women. They argued that their own educational backgrounds have allowed them to stand on their own and take care of their families regardless of the hardships of living in a war culture. They feel that their knowledge has played a significant role in the development of their community by ensuring their children's good health and proper nurturing, thus improving their quality of living.

The Women Association came up with the following strategies for their campaign to promote girls' education.

  • Organize local Dinka cultural singers to compose songs for entertainment at dancing places portraying a positive image of girl's education.
  • Provide a prize (bicycle) to the chief that convinces the most people to send their daughters to school.
  • Identify and train 14 local people, two from each Payam, to act as focal points for the promotion of girls' education. Their role will be to conduct meetings emphasizing the importance of girls' education.
  • The Women's Association will conduct two one-day sensitization workshops in all seven Payams in Rumbek County, targeting at least 100 participants each, for a total of about 1,400 participants.
  • Design up to 1,000 T-shirts with a picture of a school girl and many cows following her, to be distributed to girls who are at school to give to their parents.

Quality

Supplies

In Narus, Eastern Equatoria, 700 kgs of conventional teaching and learning equipment (including slates, chalk, exercise books and black boards) was distributed to 11 schools catering to some 2,350 pupils. The supplies were handed over to OLS NGO the Diocese of Torit for distribution. In addition, 2.5 metric tons of school materials were airlifted to Arua for distribution to 220 schools in Kajokeji, Katigri, Yei and Nimule.

School materials were dispatched to Maridi County, Western Equatoria. Another 1.5 metric tons of schools materials were delivered to Yambio including bicycles for the distance learning center and future schools assessment project.

UNICEF sent 470 kilograms of schools supplies to Mabior for the new term and 21 schools with a population of 4,600 pupils are targeted to benefit.

Head Teachers' Kits were distributed to seven schools in Yambio Payam, five schools in Nzara Payam and three schools in Sakure Payam. These kits are to assist the head teachers in the improvement of school management for quality learning and teaching.

Sudanese Teachers on the Web

A UNICEF initiative called 'Teachers Talking about Learning'-aimed at allowing teachers around the world to express their opinions, share ideas and learn from each other-has reached southern Sudan. During January, two Sudanese teachers, Eunice Kutiote and Isaac Abroryo were interviewed on the Internet regarding teaching in southern Sudan.

This is an important first step in UNICEF's work to get Sudanese teachers in touch with the global education community in an effort to help them become more effective and informed educators.

In these interviews, Eunice and Isaac were asked about the difficulties in teaching in a war zone, as well as the lives of their students, details about schooling in the area and advice they had for other teachers. In discussing education, Eunice says "I see my new task as helping other teachers to teach well: supporting them by showing them how to teach and also how to make lesson plans..."

This interview and others from educators around the world can be read on the UNICEF website at www.unicef.org/teachers.

Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child "... recognize(s) the right of the child to education."

Survival and Growth

Health

Measles and Tetanus Toxiod Campaigns

The major focus of the health and survival group in January continued to be the planned measles and tetanus toxoid (TT) campaigns. Discussions on developing strong field teams took place with the World Health Organization (WHO) based on lessons learned in the Polio Eradication Programme. The campaigns targeting at least 80% of children 9-35 months old with one dose of measles and childbearing age women with two doses of TT (approximately 660,000 children and 1,375,000 women). The total cost of the operation will be close to US$2 million. Funds for this operation have already been secured (donors are AUSAID, USAID, ECHO, CIDA, Finland and UNICEF). For the first time in southern Sudan, a total of 320,000 doses of UNIJCET TT pre-filled devices will be used while the rest of the TT vaccine needs will be in the regular 20 dose vial combination.

Immunization

UNICEF participated in planning efforts for the 2001 Polio Eradication NIDS (National Immunization Days) conducted by WHO. The 2001 NIDS will be begin in February and will continue with 2nd and 3rd rounds in March and April.

Primary Health Care

The Primary Health Care (PHC) support distribution plan is finalized and mainly targets health facilities run by indigenous NGOs and counterparts. The PHC support plan covers a total of 1,700 PHCU kits during 2001 compared to 1,400 kits in 2000. Distribution of 48 PHCU kits has already been completed during January in Yambio, where UNICEF covers all PHC facilities.

Essential Community Child Health Care efforts continued in Rumbek and Yambio counties and the Nyal area through special project agreements with CCM and COSV respectively. It is planned that all health workers in these geographical areas will be trained on management of diarrhoeal diseases, pneumonia and malaria.

Outbreak Control

Based on the agreed contingency plans, UNICEF ordered all supplies needed for outbreak control throughout 2001. This year more items will be available in smaller portions to reduce the wastage when addressing small-scale outbreaks. The list of available stocks in Lokichokio and newly ordered supplies have been circulated to all NGOs for their information.

During January, several outbreaks were reported to UNICEF/WHO: Kurmoth, suspected meningitis; Aburoc, watery diarrhoea; Jiech, watery diarrhoea; Mading, watery diarrhoea; Ayaat, measles; Atar, suspected meningitis; Udier, suspected meningitis; Kiech Kuon, suspected meningitis; Chukudu, suspected meningitis; Akak, watery diarrhoea.

UNICEF in coordination with WHO responded each of them by organizing evaluation teams and provision of necessary supplies to control the outbreaks.

Nutrition

The vegetative production workshop being facilitated by consultants from AVRDC began on 22 January. A total of 31 participants are attending the workshop: five from Rumbek, one from Twic, one from Pochalla, one from Tumbura and 23 from Yambio County. The workshop was still in progress at the end of the month.

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for "the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illnesses."

Water and Environmental Sanitation

Operation and Maintenance

15 broken down hand pumps were reported repaired by SRRA WES.

One borehole platform was repaired in Akuac village in Rumbek town. SRRA carried out the repair works.

10 broken-down IMK2 hand pumps were repaired by the SRRA WES team

One hand pump was reported broken and subsequently repaired at the ECS Church in Yambio Town. A platform was repaired in the Yambio Market.

New Water Points

UNICEF-contracted PAT AFRICA drilled one successful borehole in Tonje village in Wulu Payam and another successful borehole in Malual Akan village in the Payam.

Hygiene and Sanitation

The SRRA Hygiene Education team conducted 6 hygiene education sessions during the month. Three of the sessions were held in Rumbek town, two in Akot and one in Pachong.

A Hygiene Awareness session was conducted in Sakure Centre and was attended by 36 people. Also in Sakure at the SRRA Primary School, 199 Pupils and nine teachers attended a session on Personal Hygiene and proper disposals of excretes, conducted by UNICEF.

A Hygiene and Education session was held for 15 people at two in Lirangu Payam. The session focused on water containers, safe drinking water and washing hands after and before eating. Fifty people in Nabiapia Payam were also given hygiene training.

As a result of an assessment on unprotected springs, 30 people were trained on how to use unsafe water from an unprotected source before drinking in Nabiapia Payam.

Monitoring

In Lokichokio, a check of the new WES database has begun and production of the Users' Manual for the database is ongoing.

Also as a monitoring tool, UNICEF and SRRA WES are carrying out a joint assessment on springs to be protected, Hand Dug Wells to be dug and hand drilling to be carried out during the first quarter of 2001.

WES Sector Coordinates with Survival & Growth and Education to Promote Health

The Water and Environmental Sanitation unit made a presentation on safe water practices in a session on the Comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Development programme. The workshop was held in the Rumbek Training Centre and UNICEF Education as well as the Survival and Growth/ Nutrition sections facilitated the workshop. The workshop participants included NGOs, SRRA, representatives of the civil authority, teachers, health workers and community representatives.

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child identifies clean drinking water as a key component of fulfilling the right to the highest attainable standard of health care.